Taekwondo is a discipline that is practiced by more than 70 million individuals worldwide. This number is not limited to South Korea, the country where it was created, but also from over 188 other countries. As such, it is revered by a lot of people.
International World TaeKwondo Day is officially designated as September 4. It started in 2006 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by the ruling body of Taekwondo or the World Taekwondo Federation.
It is held in such high regard that it has its own day dedicated to it, where it is celebrated by millions of people around the world. But what is International Taekwondo Day? How did it start? How and when is it celebrated?
How International Taekwondo Day Started
International Taekwondo Day is celebrated worldwide on September 4 every year. This date commemorates the day when Taekwondo officially became a medal sport in the Olympics.
Taekwondo itself became an official medal sport when the International Olympics Society held a general assembly in Paris, France on September 4, 1994. One of the items on their agenda was whether or not to add Taekwondo as an event sport in the Olympics, which it ultimately did.
Even though Taekwondo did a demonstration in 1988 at the summer Olympic games in Seoul, South Korea. It didn’t debut as an official Olympic sport until the 2000 Olympics held in Sydney, Australia.
Taekwondo Day was already celebrated yearly to some capacity by the time the date of September 4 was officially set, but it wasn’t a major celebration until it was officially designated in 2006.
Since then, it is celebrated yearly in every country where Taekwondo has a significant presence, including of course, South Korea.
International Taekwondo Day celebrates the unity and the strength of all people who follow and practice taekwondo, bolstered by its status as an official Olympic medal sport.
How is World TaeKwonDo Day Celebrated?
As we’ve mentioned before, International Taekwondo Day is celebrated in all countries where Taekwondo has a significant presence. The celebrations themselves are not exclusive to taekwondo practitioners and can be enjoyed both by regular people and martial artists from other disciplines.
International Taekwondo Day is usually marked with competitive tournaments, demonstrations for crowds, concerts and other events. It is also used as a tool to encourage people who are interested in Taekwondo to join.
Because Taekwondo has its roots in South Korea, it also has its own unique way of celebrating International Taekwondo Day. The celebration itself would usually last for more than a day, usually between one week to ten days leading up to September 4.
Many of the celebrations held on International Taekwondo Day is organized by World Taekwondo, the governing body of Taekwondo in Korea and the rest of the world.
The celebrations in South Korea are usually kicked off by a procession known as the Taekwondo Homeland Trek. The trek starts from the Taekwondo Park in Muju County to the capital city of Seoul, a walk that is more than 240 km long.
Along the entire trek, people will get to enjoy the Taekwondo Cultural Tours, where the participants get to join in on various cultural and historical tours significant to Taekwondo.
The trek itself also has a campaign for “the continuity of Taekwondo as an official Olympic medal sport”, where taekwondo practitioners raise awareness for their martial art as an Olympic sport.
Muju County, where the trek itself begins, is an important and historical center for Taekwondo and has become a Mecca for tourists and taekwondo partitionists from all over the world.
The Taekwondo Park located in Muju is known to be the largest Taekwondo stadium in the world, at more than 2.3 million square meters. Many international taekwondo events and competitions are held in this stadium.
In the closing days of the celebration in South Korea, a Taekwondo Culture Festival will be held in Muju’s Taekwondo Park. Thousands of Taekwondo practitioners from different schools will hold exhibitions for practitioners and non-practitioners alike. This involves historical exhibits, demonstrations and even competitive tournaments for people to enjoy.
Lastly, there will also be concerts held just before September 4, involving many famous South Korean singers and performers, some of whom are known internationally. This all culminates in the main Taekwondo Day ceremony on September 4, usually held in Seoul.